I know from the work I do every week with progressive technical directors and technical managers that treating food safety as a "non-competitive issue" allows them to sit down, have conversations and move things forward. If food safety becomes a competitive issue some companies may become introverted and we are all worse off as an industry.
A common issue I have noticed while working at QADEX which provides Quality Management Software to the Food and Drinks industry is that there seems to be a struggle in getting financial support and top management priority. This is especially true for businesses which have many sites as it can sometimes seem impossible for them to get the support they need from the head office to implement the Quality Management Software which could benefit their business as a whole which can be frustrating when you know that the problem is causing issues for the business.
Putting Business Case Last
Organisations are often reactive rather than proactive, meaning that they will only look for a technical solution when they encounter a problem instead of planning ahead and putting solutions in place before it’s too late. This results in a frenzied panic to implement a technology system that solves the problem they have encountered, without taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture.
The problems you encounter may seem crucial while you are in the swing of trying to resolve them and work to solve the aftermath they may have caused. And as is often the case while being focused on trying to find a solution teams usually put the calculation of benefits as the last step of the process and this results in them being unable to get the required backing.
As I am sure you are aware, projects aimed at solving a problem can quickly become big and hard to handle, resulting in a joint effort from several areas of the business all of which require funding and IT support. You should have a clear view of what your business wants to achieve by using the technology, ask yourself what does this technology bring to the table and how does it align with what the business is trying to achieve as a whole, your aims and objectives for example. Use this to build your case around how the technology will be beneficial to the business as a whole and not just to solve a problem or two.
Looking at the Wrong Financial Metrics
You have a problem within your business, and it is costing you every day of the week. This is already your reason for investment, however, you should not be focusing on the Return on Investment or Breakeven point of implementing the new technology to solve this problem.
It is easy to get stuck on these metrics however these are the Wrong Financial Metrics, you should instead be focusing on the following two metrics; Value and Time to Value. I’ll discuss these two in more detail below:
Value – This metric aims to make you ask yourself, how much is this problem causing you per year, how much has it cost you in total since it started? Is this an acceptable cost for your business, or is it time to take steps to resolve it. Looking back on historical data helps to quantify the cost of the new technology, you will still need to look into Return on Investment and break even but using this historical data will help your case.
Time to Value – This metric is important but often overlooked when calculating Return on Investment or Break even for a new piece of technology. When planning to purchase technology it is easy to consider the cost of purchasing and implementing it after, however, it is common for businesses to not take into account the time they spent before purchasing the technology, researching it and getting approval for it. Remembering that time is money when going through this process is great as it will help you get a clear understanding of how much your solution cost in terms of both money and time and how long it will take for your solution to start providing value.
Not Having Enough (or Any) Hard Data
When presented with a list of benefits that the technology will bring you, it is quite easy to overlook and provide hard data for the business to analyse and discuss to see how much value the solution will bring.
However, it is not uncommon for hard data for this to be available, and it may be very time consuming to get the data collated if required. If you have hard data available or it isn’t too hard to acquire then it will greatly help you build your business case.
Lack of Key Historic Events
Another common mistake when creating a business case is not having a compelling event recorded down. A compelling event could be a specific date in which the problem you are trying to solve occurred and any financial impact it had. Being able to present this data is extremely beneficial as it creates a reason for things to be done sooner rather than later as not being able to present this data means there’s no real reason for the business to act on the issue today and that it can wait.
Try your best to research as many of these events as you can, the more times you can mention times when this problem has caused your business problems it will reinforce the idea that a solution needs to be looked into urgently and that it cannot wait.
Maximising Adoption Success
The best way to maximise success when adopting new technology is to ensure that you have considered and analysed all of the issues you have and that the solution will address all of these issues within the business case. The most important thing to remember is to ensure that the solution fits the whole business and not just the issues you or a few select colleagues are experiencing.